Harley-Davidson takes the science of seat design severely. (Jeff Allen/)
Driving a bike might be uncomfortable. Bouncing down the highway along with your weight focused on a tiny plot of posterior actual property may cause unmentionable illnesses—illnesses very a lot at odds with the romantic picture of motorcycling we would favor to challenge. It is an issue frequent to many sorts and types of machines. Nonetheless, if you happen to’re a loyal Harley-Davidson rider—even one who sticks with the inventory foam saddle—you may be stunned to listen to that is the case.
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The rationale for Harley-induced hindquarter happiness lies in what we’d discuss with as H-D’s “butt guys.” The corporate calls them human-factors engineers, and so they spend 90 % of their time making the Motor Firm’s seats as snug as they’re fashionable. This intrepid staff is the explanation you possibly can sit astride any Harley and really feel like an precise human rear spent a while within the seat earlier than the machine reached the fingers (and cans) of the general public.
Actually, many precise human butts do the preparatory sitting. To collect goal and subjective suggestions on consolation and rider-triangle match, Harley pulls round 50 staff with various physique varieties from throughout the group. Prototype analysis begins within the dressing room, the place engineers collect topics’ “private information” with a measuring tape. Information assortment continues on the check observe, the place riders spend numerous miles within the saddle.
Greg Falkner, supervisor of portfolios for options and customization, says: “It actually begins with the shopper: who they’re, the place they’re at, and the way they’re going to trip the bike. That helps us formulate a few of these trade-offs [between comfort targets and style]. It turns into this dance forwards and backwards between the artists and the engineers.”
Between the styling division, automobile design staff, seat technical consultants, and human-factors engineers, “1000’s of sturdiness and analysis miles” have gone into every seat.
“You can also make a seat actually snug with all of the know-how on the planet,” Falkner notes, “however it’s also possible to do one thing actually good if you happen to take the time and have a look at the finer particulars.” The entire course of makes retaining butts in saddles look tougher than simply getting them there. Which is saying one thing. One factor’s for positive: Riders profit when consideration is paid to the softer facet. In spite of everything, somebody’s gotta maintain the romantic picture of motorcycling intact.